In 2004, television changed significantly. Of the “Big Three” American broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), the Alphabet Network was often the lowest rated.
However, in the 2004-05 season, the network would turn around thanks, in part, to the launch of three series, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy & LOST.
On Wednesday, 22 September 2004, LOST hit our screens and crashed onto the Island. The program lasted for six seasons, concluding on May 23, 2010.
But 10 years later, people still believe that “they were dead the whole time”.
This is simply not true.
Even now, LOST still holds the title for having the most misunderstood ending of any TV show.
So we’re here to give you the facts proving once and for all, that they were not dead the whole time.
Also, it goes without warning that this article contains major spoilers.
Realizing the Point of the “Flash Sideways”.
The “Awakenings” are the moments shown at various points throughout season 6 in the “flash sideways” where our characters remember their times on the Island and with the people that mattered most to them.
Whether it was Hurley having contact with Libby, Sun seeing Ji-Yeon’s sonogram, or even Locke moving his own feet post-surgery, there were many different ways our characters “awoke”.
If they were dead the whole time, they wouldn’t need to “awaken” from this fantasy world.
They wouldn’t necessarily have understood what was happening to them in the “flash sideways”, and why they all needed to meet at the church in the series finale.
If they were dead the whole time, they wouldn’t differentiate between the Island and the sideways world.
You Can’t Die While Already Dead.
If our characters were truly dead the whole time, then why would it be that only some “survived” the initial crash?
How could Boone have died again in season one? Dying while already dead makes no sense whatsoever.
And I know what you’re thinking, “There’s a Smoke Monster, anything is possible”.
Yes, there is a Smoke Monster, because this is a sci-fi/fantasy show.
But when almost all other logic applies in this fictional universe of LOST, dying while already dead simply makes no sense.
The Real World Kept Turning.
If our Losties were dead the whole time, there would be no reason, nor any real way, to feature the real world events post-crash.
And the rescue from the Island after 100 days isn’t even the issue here.
In season 3, Jack is held captive in the Hydra station. Ben Linus informs Jack how in the time since the crash various things have happened in the real world.
These include: Superman actor Christopher Reeve dying (10 October 2004), then-President George W. Bush getting re-elected (2 November 2004), and even the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series (27 October 2004).
This last event was the most unbelievable to Jack. Having been a life-long Red Sox fan and knowing of “The Curse of the Bambino”, Jack did not buy this for a moment and even told Ben as much.
However, Ben showed Jack a tape in which the baseball team triumphed after failing to win a championship in 86 years.
Jack is shocked, not only due to the win, but because the Others have contact with the outside world. Ben promises to take Jack “home” in exchange for his help.
If the characters were dead the entire time, not only would they not have access to this footage but there would be no reason to have this knowledge, and use it to lure Jack into helping Ben.
They Wouldn’t Need to Create Two Post-Death Worlds.
We briefly touched on this in our original point, but let’s clarify that the “flash sideways” world was created by our characters.
There would be no reason to create this world after various deaths at various points (more on that later) if they were already dead the whole time.
Our characters went through a lot. They met The Others, several got rescued, several stayed behind, and much more happened.
Believing all that is a sort of Purgatory is one thing.
But to then attempt to explain that after those deaths the characters or some higher power might then create the “flash sideways” world to once again meet up with each other is absurd.
If they died in the initial plane crash, there would be no reason for two different post-death worlds, on-Island and flash sideways, to exist.
One was real and one was post-death.
It’s All Explained in Christian’s Speech.
Many of you are probably wondering why this is only the second-to-last point — we’ll get there.
But in the finale, it is explained to Jack and us fans plain as day by a rather unlikely character.
After experiencing a brief moment of the “Awakening”, Jack comes in contact with his father’s casket during the final moments of the series finale, in the flash sideways world.
He gets a greater sense of things through this contact, but it isn’t until a moment later when Christian Shephard himself appears in the scene and father and son embrace.
Jack asks how Christian can be there if dead and Christian gets Jack to realize that, at some point, Jack and all his friends died too.
However, as this article is trying to prove, it wasn’t at the moment of the crash.
Christian specifically says to Jack that “everything that ever happened to you is real” and that “everyone dies sometime”, after which he tells Jack that some died before him and some “long after”.
How could some people die “long after” if they all died in the initial plane crash?
He then explains “The most important part of your life was the time you spent with these people“. If everyone died in the original crash, how were the other passengers the most important people in Jack’s life? He would have never even met most of the passengers.
But Christian, and the writers, make it a point to tell us in that speech that everything that happened was real.
Yes, they crashed and survived. Yes, some were rescued. Yes, they met a man who never aged. Yes, they were terrorized by Island-dwelling Others and a Smoke Monster. It was all real.
And speaking of the writers…
The Creators Confirmed They Weren’t Dead All Along.
Many of you have thought Christian’s speech would be number one on this list.
However, I’d argue that the word of the creative minds behind LOST hold more weight. Especially when they specifically confirm what we’re proving: the characters weren’t dead the whole time.
At various times, both Damon Lindelof (co-creator/executive producer/show runner) and Carlton Cuse (executive producer/show runner) have commented and confirmed that Jack and Co. were not dead the whole time.
One such instance was in 2014 at the PaleyFest panel in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the premiere of LOST.
Although Cuse came in after season 1 was underway, he was a confidant of Lindelof as the early stages of the show were formed. The two were good friends and had worked together previously.
Cuse and Lindelof then continued the creative direction where Lindelof and JJ Abrams (co-creator/executive producer) had left off. They fleshed out the story for the remainder of the series.
In the finale, after the series proper has ended, there are shots of the crash taken as B-roll during the pilot, which shows just the plane itself, broken apart on the beach.
Various angles are shown and this was to act as a calm down period between the episode and the local news (in American markets).
At the PaleyFest mentioned above, Cuse commented that the crash happened, the characters survived, but by the time of the church scene, they had all been dead.
For the avoidance of any doubt, here is the exact quote:
“No, no, no. They were not dead the whole time. We thought, let’s put those shots at the end of the show and it will be a little buffer and lull. And when people saw the footage of the plane with no survivors, it exacerbated the problem. But the characters definitely survived the plane crash and really were on a very real island. At the very end of the series, though? Yep, they were all dead when they met up in heaven for the final church scene.”
And there you have it. Definitive proof both from the series itself and the minds behind the series that show they were not dead the whole time on LOST.